Kanda Buwana, a.k.a. Professor Matthew Isaac Cohen, is an American shadow puppeteer, educator and scholar who performs traditional and contemporary wayang kulit. His stage name Kanda Buwana (He Who Tells Stories of the World) was given to him in 2009 by Sultan Abdul Gani of the royal court of Kacirebonan in Cirebon, West Java, Indonesia. He also received a royal title from the sultan, Kyai Ngabehi, roughly the equivalent of a knighthood, for services rendered to puppetry and traditional culture. He was honored with two further royal names as well. In 2018, Sultan Arief Natadiningrat of the royal court of Kasepuhan awarded him for advancing and preserving Cirebon-style shadow puppetry with the name Ki Dalang Bawana (Honourable Puppeteer of the World), while in 2020 the royal court of Surakarta Hadiningrat awarded him with the name and title Kanjeng Raden Tumenggung Prof. Cahya Handaru (Sir Professor Glow of a Boon).
Kanda Buwana has performed wayang kulit in English and Javanese with gamelan groups in Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. The company is available to perform with gamelan anywhere in the world, and is also prepared to offer contemporary solo performances, lecture-demonstrations and workshops.
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